UK: It's Jihad - The musical!

world | Aug 06, 2007 | By Adrian Morgan

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival has always entertained with rather kooky and off-the-wall productions, and is used as a test ground for "alternative" plays and comedy. This year's controversy at the Fringe surrounds an offbeat musical, called "Jihad: The Musical". The show, which will be running until August 26, is said to have attracted the ire of some Muslims, and also some po-faced individuals who believe that Islamic terrorism is so serious that no-one should mock it. Humour should be able to satirize ANY aspects of our lives, particularly the intentions of individuals whose sole aim is to cause death and destruction against Western interests.

Canada's CBC News focuses on a petition submitted to the UK government's e-petitions page. In an attempt to persuade the British public that it is "democratic", the Labour government has allowed anyone to make an e-petition, on almost any subject. Sadly, truly inventive petitions can be rejected. This was the fate of an e-petition by Bry Robson, which requested that: " We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to suck a trifle with a straw while swimming in treacle."

The e-petition to Downing Street condemning "Jihad: The Musical" was created by Tom Jervis. At the time of writing, only 15 people have signed. A third of the current signatories seem slightly suspect - Rage Boy, Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Abu Hamza have all condemned Jihad: The Musical. Personally I loathe people who wish to see plays, TV shows or films banned when they almost certainly have not seen the productions they castigate.

Tom Jervis' wording is patronizing, and shows an obvious lack of humor. It states: " We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to condemn the tasteless portrayal of terrorism and its victims in 'Jihad The Musical'." He additionally writes: "The idea of making light of muslim extremism is extremely offensive, most especially for its victims. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival promotes such 'artistic license' without due consideration for those parties who may be offended by this 'musical.'"

If Tom Jervis was himself a victim of Muslim terrorism, he might conceivably have an argument, but he appears to be one of the patronizing PC brigade who would deny others their fun, citing spurious arguments about the supposed feelings of victims whom they probably have never canassed for their opinions. At least it can be said that those who signed the petition as terrorists and terror-supporters have more sense of fun than Tom Jervis.

The Daily Mail also mentions the petition, but curiously entitles its article "Muslim Fury as 'Jihad The Musical' comes to the UK". However, not once in the article does the author of the piece actually name or quote any Muslims who have expressed "fury". Unless one counts Rage Boy, Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Abu Hamza who "signed" the e-petition. Poor journalism often makes dramatic but unsubstantiated headlines.

Lynne Walker of the Independent has at least seen the show. She states: "The music, by the old Etonian Ben Scheuer (who also provides ample support at the keyboard), is a decent enough pastiche of a catchy mixture of musical-theatre styles, and it's competently sung by the energetic cast of six from New York. The pair of blonde immigration officers ("No one relaxes protecting the axis

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Adrian Morgan is a British bas
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.

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